A kilt is a garment similar to a skirt worn by men.  It was originally a wrap-around full-length garment (belted plaid) that could be draped over the shoulder and head - something like the garment Mel Gibson wore in the field in the movie Braveheart, where he played the role of Sir William Wallace fighting against Edward I (Edward Longshanks) and his army.  This was the "great kilt".  A walking kilt or small kilt was invented in the 1720s which was less unwieldy as the great kilt.  The small kilt was quickly adopted in Scotland, although here is evidence that this kilt was already in used before the 1720s.  A kilt usually has a tartan, although Irish pipe bands often wear a kilt in a solid colour - typically saffron or green.  The amount of material in a kilt (wool) can range from heavy (18-22 ounces) down to light (10-11 ounces).  A full kilt has 8 yards of fabric, although for those who are not girth-impaired, it can range up to 9 yards. 

A Scottish kilt is worn with accessories that include

  • a belt (often embossed with a buckle);
  • a jacket (of various styles such as Crail, Bonnie Prince Charlie or Argyll);
  • a waist-coat;
  • a kilt pin (which weighs down the apron)
  • a sgian-dubh (black knife sheathed and held in the hose);
  • hose with flashes;
  • Ghillie brogues (i.e. shoes);
  • a Glengarry (hat).

Women also wear kilts - for example highland dancers or female students attending private schools.  Kilts are popular in many Celtic countries.  

Because of the amount of wool and the specialized tailoring involved in making a kilt, kilts are not cheap.  A new kilt will run one at least around $500 CDN.  There are ways to cut costs such as by purchasing a used kilt.  Like all quality garments, a good kilt should be capable of being modified for the wearer by a skilled kilt-maker.  

The wearing of a kilt by members of the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band is part of the distinctive identity of the Band but it is also part of showmanship - an essential part of any public performance.  

The following is a brief documentary from the British Army about how to wear a kilt.